Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves Elected As Chairman Of Tenn-Tom Authority For 2022

Members of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority have voted to elect Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves as the group’s chairman for 2022. The Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Authority is a four-state compact—made up of representatives from Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky—that promotes economic development along the waterway.

“The authority is grateful that Gov. Reeves will be serving as chairman for 2022,” said Mitch Mays, administrator of the Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Authority. “The Tenn-Tom Waterway and the Marine Highway 65 have an economic output of approximately $8 billion annually. Under Gov. Reeves’ leadership, we expect to continue the growth of business and industry along our corridor, while enhancing the recreational value of the Tenn-Tom at the same time.”Reeves, who is in his second year as Mississippi’s governor, previously served as the state’s treasurer (2004-2012) and lieutenant governor (2012-2020).

“It is my pleasure to serve as chairman of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority for 2022,” Reeves said in a statement. “The Tenn-Tom Waterway is an integral part of the Mississippi economy and has generated billions in private capital investment and created thousands of jobs in Mississippi. The Tenn-Tom Waterway provides a vital link in our nation’s transportation infrastructure and is a great asset to Mississippi and the member states of the authority.”

While in office, Reeves has worked to promote and support industry on the waterway, including Mississippi Silicon in Burnsville, Miss., and Samuelson Roll Form Group at Yellow Creek Port in Iuka, Miss. Reeves has also advocated for improvements at Lowndes County Port and Clay County Port, both of which are located on the Tenn-Tom, and at ports along the Mississippi River and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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“The state of Mississippi has been blessed with tremendous water resources—we are literally surrounded by waterways—the Tenn-Tom, the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico,” Reeves said. “There are bountiful opportunities for business and industry on the Tenn-Tom, and I look forward to expanding its economic, trade and recreational potential. I am excited to assist the forward progress on all these fronts, while also keeping the authority’s stated mission at the forefront of all we do.”

There are a total of 24 members of the Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Authority: the governors from each of the four member states, plus five members appointed by each governor. The governors are elected to one-year terms as chair of the authority.

Other officers in 2022 include Mike Armour of Tupelo, Miss., who will serve as vice chairman; and T.L. “Bud” Phillips of Columbus, Miss., who was reelected as treasurer. Armour, program manager for the Appalachian Regional Commission, was just appointed to the authority, while Phillips, a businessman, has served on the authority since 1988. Besides serving as administrator for the authority, Mays is also president of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Council, a group that advises the authority and serves as a liaison between commercial stakeholders and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies.

The Tenn-Tom Waterway opened to navigation in 1985. Besides serving as a trade route for cargoes traveling between the Tennessee and Ohio River valleys and the Gulf of Mexico, the Tenn-Tom Waterway is also home to a wide range of marinas, campgrounds and parks. In addition, the waterway is often used as part of “the Great Loop,” a collection of waterways that allows recreational boaters to encircle the Mississippi Valley, Southeast and Northeast.